Security Council meets over US decision on Jerusalem

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Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, briefs the Security Council from Jerusalem. Photo/Manuel Elias

It is now "more important than ever" to preserve the prospect of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a senior UN official in the region told the Security Council on Friday.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolai Mladenov briefed ambassadors meeting over the decision this week by United States President Donald Trump, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

He said the announcement has led to widespread demonstrations and violent clashes, with at least one person killed and more than 140 injured.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Mladenov began by highlighting that Jerusalem is and always will be integral to the national identity of both Israelis and Palestinians.

It is also symbolic to billions of people worldwide: Jews, Muslims and Christians.

But, he stated, the UN has "repeatedly declared" that any unilateral decision seeking to alter the city's character or status could seriously undermine peace efforts and potentially generate repercussions across the region.

The UN Secretary-General also has been "clear" about the need for a two-State solution to end the ongoing conflict, with Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and Palestine, said Mr Mladenov.

"I have warned many times in the past, and I will do so again today: if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved in line with relevant United Nations resolutions, and in a manner that meets the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, it risks being engulfed in the vortex of religious radicalism throughout the Middle East.  There is a serious risk today that we may see a chain of unilateral actions, which can only push us further away from achieving our shared goal of peace."

Mr Mladenov underlined the UN's strong commitment to supporting efforts towards the two-state solution.

This, he said, "is the only way to achieve the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'31"

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